sexta-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2011
NAJAF, Iraq, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Residents in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf took to the streets following Friday prayers complaining of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the country.
In Baghdad, on his last stop before returning to the United States, Biden visited with U.S. troops at Camp Victory.
He said the United States will end its military involvement in Iraq responsibly, leaving behind a country that is worthy of the sacrifices "that so many of your brothers and sisters have made".
The United States ended its combat mission in August, leaving behind about 50,000 troops who remain mostly in an advisory role and for training.
Throngs of Iraqis took to the streets of the Shiite holy city of Najaf following Friday prayers calling on U.S. forces to leave the country, the Voices of Iraq news agency reported.
Najaf is home to anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, who returned to Iraq last week after living in exile in Iran. He fled Iraq in 2007 after U.S. forces descended on his supporters following post-invasion guerrilla war in the Sadr City slum of Baghdad.
Sadr in a speech last weekend called on his followers in Najaf to speak out against what he says is the American occupation of Iraq. UPI
BEIJING, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- China says it is implementing new environmental standards to reduce vehicle and industrial emissions into the atmosphere.
With the goal of a smog-free future, the Ministry of Environmental Protection added ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxide to its list of reduction targets, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Friday.
Increased measures will be taken to cut vehicles' exhausts and to tackle the worst polluting industries such as paper-making, textiles and chemical plants, the ministry said.
The announcement comes in advance of China's new five-year economic plan, which is expected to include greater environmental protection requirements.
It wasn't until 2005 that China included modest pollution reduction targets in the state plan.
Those first targets were achieved, although Beijing and other major cities remain shrouded in smog for much of the year.
Analysts say Chinese officials now have the confidence to add tougher targets to make a tangible impact.
"What they are trying to do this time is really push the ball forward to do enough to actually make a visible difference," Deborah Seligsohn of the World Resources Institute said. "You are seeing a transition from showing effect to showing results". UPI
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Kyrgyzstan officials found an assault rifle allegedly used by Islamic militants during clashes in the country's south in June, the interior minister said.
The government has fought for control since an April coup. Hundreds of people were killed during summer violence between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in the southern regions of Osh and Jalal Abad.
Kyrgyz Interior Minister Zarylbek Rysaliev told lawmakers that forensic evidence taken from an assault rifle stolen from government storage during an April coup was used by ethnic Kyrgyzs against Special Forces in June.
He said explosives tied to the cache that contained the assault rifle were similar to those used in an explosion targeting a sports complex in November.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Bishkek in December as part of a state visit to Western allies in Central Asia. Her visit was precipitated by an explosion in front of a sports arena hosting a trial for members of the regime of Kurmanbek Bakiyev who were accused of abuses in the aftermath of the coup.
An official investigation, looking into ethnic violence that gripped parts of southern Kyrgyzstan after an April coup led Bakiyev to flee the country, blamed Uzbek leaders and Bakiyev backers for the conflict. Washington said it was concerned about allegations of torture during the unrest and analysts said Bishkek wasn't yet ready to conduct "an honest investigation" into the June conflicts. UPI
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The United Nations is "deeply concerned" about the escalation of violence in the Ivory Coast following attacks on peacekeepers, the secretary-general said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement through his spokesman, warned leaders in the Ivory Coast that they would be held accountable for attacks on U.N. forces in the country.
Forces loyal to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo set a U.N. vehicle on fire and later forced a U.N. ambulance to flee parts of Abidjan amid lingering violence.
"The secretary-general is deeply concerned that regular and irregular forces loyal to Gbagbo have begun to attack and burn United Nations' vehicles," he said through his spokesman.
"Beginning this morning, there have been a total of six incidents involving such attacks in Abidjan where (a peacekeeper's) military vehicle was burned. A doctor and the driver of an ambulance targeted in one of the attacks were injured".
Gbagbo refused to step down after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution recognizing Alassane Ouattara as the winner of a presidential election meant to unite country divided by civil war in 2002.
The 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States have tried to broker a peaceful settlement to the issue and warned they would consider military force to pressure Gbagbo to step aside.
Hundreds of people were killed in the political violence that erupted after the November election. Washington hit Gbagbo with sanctions as international pressure on the incumbent mounted. UPI
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Lebanon's caretaker prime minister returned to Beirut Friday to face lawmakers who one analyst said might be ready for a fight after the government collapsed.
Saad Hariri, Lebanon's caretaker prime minister, left Istanbul to return Friday following a whirlwind tour that took him to Washington and Paris amid controversy surrounding a tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of his father.
Hariri was in Washington meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama when Hezbollah led opposition lawmakers in a walkout Wednesday that collapsed the fragile unity government in Beirut.
Hezbollah is upset that Hariri is supporting the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which the Shiite movement said is part of an Israeli project meant to discredit the group.
Jamal Wakim at the Lebanese International University told al-Jazeera the political crisis is "very serious" with the potential for conflict likely without a quick settlement.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, however, said the resignation of the 11 opposition ministers wasn't going to usher in an era of war in Lebanon.
The STL is expected to name Hezbollah members when it releases its indictment, which could come as early as next week.
The opposition March 8 movement was quoted by Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper as saying that it would put forward names for a new government within 48 hours.
Hariri had no public comments Friday. UPI
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A man pointed a gun at himself inside a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., courthouse Friday morning but surrendered without injury, police said.
Marin Stroia, 59, of Oakland Park walked into the Broward County Courthouse through an exit at 9:25 a.m., the sheriff's office told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. As deputies approached, he sat on the floor and pointed a gun at his chest and demanded to see a judge.
Retired Judge Joel Lazarus, who was filling in at bond court, came downstairs but told Stroia, "I won't go down there until you put the gun down".
Once deputies secured the gun, Lazarus said, he spoke to Stroia for 10 to 15 minutes about his divorce case.
"He was ranting and raving about his divorce situation, but not incoherently," Lazarus said. "He needed to vent; he needed someone to listen to his problems".
Lazarus told Stroia to write to him about his situation and promised to pass his concerns to Chief Judge Victor Tobin.
Stroia was taken into custody peacefully. UPI
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Some U.S. colleges are keeping tabs on potentially dangerous students through "threat assessment teams" amid debate over students' rights, officials say.
Around 80 percent of universities nationwide have started such programs since the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead, USA Today reported Friday.
A Behavior Assessment Committee at Pima Community College in Arizona had identified alleged gunman Jared Loughner as a student of concern and suspended him months before the shooting that killed six and injured 13 others.
In the wake of the shooting, some are asking whether the school should have done more to help Loughner or alert authorities outside the campus environment.
After Pima suspended Loughner it steered him toward mental health treatment.
"The school did what they were supposed to do, which is protect their school, require an evaluation," Brian Van Brunt, president of the American College Counseling Association, said.
However, some mental health officials argue that suspension is inappropriate.
"The fear is that rather than using (teams) as a vehicle to support students, they're using them as a vehicle to get rid of them," said Karen Bower, an attorney at Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, an advocate for mentally ill people.
An estimated 1,600 campuses have threat assessment teams today.
"We try to look at each case objectively, to see whether we're dealing with a goofy, immature kid, or someone who's truly a danger," said Patricia Lunt, head of Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation Teams at Northern Virginia Community College. UPI
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- South Florida is struggling to deal with a rise in homelessness, officials and charities say.
"A new face of homeless has emerged in our community because there has been a staggering increase in family homelessness," Diana Stanley, executive director of the Lord's Place in Palm Beach County, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "When people think of the homeless, they think of the person standing on a street corner begging, but more and more it's families -- families with children".
In Fort Lauderdale, where homeless people gathering in a park have caused complaints, Mayor Jack Seiler wants to open two short-term centers where charities can feed them.
Palm Beach County, which has seen a 62 percent jump in homeless students, is building its first homeless resource center after years of delay, and towns are debating a crackdown on panhandling in the streets.
Both Broward and Palm Beach counties will send out volunteers this month to get their first homeless count in two years. They will search parks, shelters, soup kitchens, labor camps, libraries and bus terminals in a 24-hour period.
Social service advocates expect to find more than the 5,300 people who were counted two years ago. UPI
At least 45 pilgrims have been killed in a stampede at a religious festival in the southern Indian state of Kerala, officials say.
Scores more have been injured in the crush, which was reportedly triggered by a road accident.
The pilgrims were returning from the Hindu shrine of Sabarimala, which is in a remote, mountainous, densely-forested area.
State officials said the death toll could rise.
It was not immediately clear how the stampede had begun.
The Indian PTI news agency said a jeep carrying pilgrims had driven into a crowd returning from the shrine, starting a panic.
However, the Times of India reported that the incident happened when the jeep broke down and overturned as pilgrims tried to move it.
It crushed a number of people and caused others to stumble, which then triggered the stampede, the report said. BBC News